This week we've been blessed with an overabundance of terrific sports coupes, from an Aston Martin V8 Vantage at the very high end to an affordable Hyundai Genesis coupe. To my mind, though, this retina-searing yellow Nissan 370Z sits at the perfect cross-section of value and performance.
For only about three grand more than our similarly searing yellow Genesis coupe, the 370Z has steering and a chassis that had me thinking of a Porsche Cayman (which also was just in the office). No, it's not quite as perfect, but it's pretty damn good. So is the shifter, which requires a good effort to move from gate to gate but is precise and feels just right in your hand. The rev-matched downshifts are also rather neat. I eventually shut off that feature to practice my own technique, and there's no doubt the computer is smoother. Best of all, the 370Z is fast. I'm not a fan of all the noises the VQ engine makes, but it sure gets the job done when you hit the go pedal.
I took the car all the way to Chicago to visit my parents, and I found its ride firm but livable, and the seats did a decent job of supporting my back. It's certainly relaxed enough so that you could use it as a daily driver, even if you have a long commute. I took two coolers of free steak back (thanks Mom and Dad!) and was surprised by how easily they fit in the trunk. The only disappointment, it turns out, was my dad's. He was very excited to see the car, as he long ago owned a Datsun 260Z. I let him wheel the car around our cul-de-sac, which was enough for him to conclude the 3232-pound Nissan has nothing on the 2404-pound Datsun in terms of nimbleness. Even he had to admit, though, that the 370Z offers a whole lot of bang for the buck.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor